b. 25/11/1921 Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. d. 31/05/1945 Rotterdam, Netherlands.
DATE AND PLACE OF GC ACTION: 15/01 - 27/03 1942 Egypt.
George Herbert “Granny” Goodman (1900-1945) was born on 25th November 1900 in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, the third child and only son of Herbert Mander Goodman, a Birmingham solicitor, and Agnes Christina Goodman (nee Anderson). His mother was Scottish, hailing from Dunbar. His great great grandfather, George Goodman, started the pin-making business in Birmingham, where the safety pin was developed. George was born in the family home, Perry Hall, which was the former home of AE Housman, the famous poet. The house is now part of Bromsgrove School.
George attended prep school at West House School, Edgbaston from September 1911 to April 1914. He went on to Dauntsey’s School, West Lavington, Wiltshire. On leaving school he went to work as a farming student for land agents Messrs Dixon in Bromsgrove. During the latter stages of the Great War he served with the Bromsgrove Volunteers. In September 1926 he married Constance (Connie) Bricourt Millington, who came from Cheshire, and they lived in Harborne, Birmingham. There were no children in the marriage.
In 1928, he became a Probationer of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and in 1930, a Professional Associate. A month after the outbreak of WWII, he enlisted with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and trained at HMS King Alfred, a training establishment for RNVR Officers. He was selected for bomb disposal work and posted to HMS Vernon, then the Royal Navy’s Torpedo Instruction School, also in Portsmouth, to be trained in torpedo and mine disposal. He was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant in October 1939.
By 1st May 1941, he was an experienced Mine Disposal Officer, and was posted to HMS Nile at Ras-el-tin Point, Alexandria, Egypt. His job entailed travelling along the North African coast whenever unexploded torpedoes, mines or bombs were discovered. The Royal Navy was responsible for munitions recovered at sea, the Royal Engineers for those on land, and the RNVR for bombs and mines found between the Low Water and High Water Marks. On 2nd September 1941, he was appointed an MBE for his work.
On 15th January 1942, the Egyptian Coastguard spotted a torpedo-shaped object along the coast from Alexandria. The object was covered with sand and shingle, so a working party went with Goodman but on arrival they had to find the object by probing until they hit something. Once uncovered, it was seen to be a torpedo, but it was not like any seen before. Three pistol firing mechanisms were visible. The working party moved back a safe distance. None of their tools fitted the screw heads, so a hammer and chisel were used to unscrew the key-rings to gain access to the pistols, primers and detonators. It was while dealing with the first of these that a loud sound was heard. Instinctively the party ran away from the torpedo. Havinf recovered their composure, they returned and made it safe. The device turned out to be the only Italian self-destroying surface torpedo that had been recovered. During January to March 1942, Goodman defused 14 parachute mines in the Suez Canal area and retrieving the first mechanism from a German C type mine to be recovered and examined. He also defused 2 torpedoes, 31 moored mines and the first "Sammy" mine recovered in the Mediterranean.
On 15th September 1942, he was awarded the George Cross for his bomb and mine disposal work in Egypt. He received both his GC and MBE at an investiture at Buckingham Palace from King George VI on 1st February 1944. His two assistants, William Filer and Archibald John Russell received George Medals. He had by now, returned to HMS Vernon, where he was based until the end of the war.
However, following VE Day, it was discovered that there was a huge amount of clearing of mines, bombs and torpedoes work to be done across Europe. George was sent to Holland to assist these operations. Tragically, on 31st May 1945, just three weeks after VE Day, he was killed when entering a booby trapped house in Rotterdam. He was buried with full military honours at Westduin General Cemetery, The Hague. George’s medals including the GC, MBE, 1939-45 Star, Africa Star, Defence Medal 1939-45 and War Medal 1939-45 are proudly held by the Goodman family.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: WITH RECIPIENT'S FAMILY.
BURIAL PLACE: WESTDUIN GENERAL CEMETERY, THE HAGUE, HOLLAND.
Picture - Thomas Stewart